“Can you really explain to a fish what it’s like to walk on land?
One day on land is worth a thousand years of talking about it.”
Despite the name, the first goal of Bulldog is not stock trading—or even portfolio management. Rather, this on-campus internship program was established in 2009 to teach students how to critically think and, in the process, read and interpret financial statements. Furthermore, students must be able to take the analyzed information and present their research in a comprehensive manner. In doing so, students have an opportunity to master not only critical thinking skills but also presentation and public speaking skills.
ANYONE CAN DO IT:
Although a few students may have a career in portfolio management or investing—most will not. However, every student will work for a company that produces financial statements—whether for-profit or non-profit. The financial statements are the key to evaluating the health and stability of any company.
If students learn to read and interpret financial statements—and are able to differentiate between a great company and all others—that student can effectively add value to any organization.
In establishing high-performance criteria, the standards used by Warren Buffett in his management of Berkshire Hathaway are the same standards used in Bulldog. Not only does Buffett’s investment track record speak for itself, but Buffett also sets high standards for ethical behavior giving concrete evidence that integrity and strong business performance are not mutually exclusive. In fact, Buffett would argue that integrity and business success must go hand in hand.
I am a better investor because I am a businessman and a
better businessman because I am an investor.”
DISPLAY YOUR WORK:
Once students master the Buffett criteria—students look for investment opportunities for inclusion in their own portfolio.
Students are broken into teams who research investment ideas meeting Buffett’s criteria. These teams present their best investment ideas to the Bulldog Board of Directors once a month. The idea that best meets Buffett’s criteria and is shown to be the best value is the winning presentation.
The winning presentation is funded with $5,000 in cash for inclusion in the Bulldog portfolio. As such, it is truly a student-managed portfolio. Furthermore, since the program is funded with actual cash there is a verifiable track record of what has been done and accomplished.
Most of the nation’s top MBA programs offer a student-managed investment program. However, very few undergraduate programs offer a program of this nature—especially one that allows students to manage actual cash in a real portfolio. This gives TLU students a competitive advantage as this goes well beyond a simulation.
All student presentations are documented on the Bulldog Investment Company website. As such, students not only gain invaluable experience but also a “real world” reference point when they are interviewing for jobs. This adds credibility and depth to any student’s resume.
At a minimum, students are required to commit at least two consecutive semesters—preferably the fall and spring semesters. Although this was a requirement, most students participating in Bulldog do so for longer than one year. The best students stay in the program as long as possible since the learning curve is so steep. So far, the longest-tenured student intern served three and a half years.
Students must stay in good standing with the university. Additionally, student interns must attend class and show a true desire to learn about business, financial analysis and investing.
Bulldog meets every Friday from 1:30 P.M. to about 3:30 P.M in Tschoepe Hall, Room 131. Student interns will have additional work assignments to prepare for group presentations between meetings.
Although most people assume Bulldog is only for business majors—it is not. The intern program has had several non-business majors successfully participate. The one thing they must possess is a desire to work hard and participate. Furthermore, there are no classification requirements—sophomores, juniors and seniors from all majors are welcome.
Student interns can participate in either a non-credit or for-credit manner. If enrolling for credit, the student must enroll in either BA 419, BA 429 or BA 439—depending on whether they are requesting one, two or three hours of credit. If a student wants credit, they must coordinate with their advisor and submit necessary papers on what they have learned.
Bulldog extends well beyond just financial analysis. Each semester Bulldog Investment Company hosts individual’s that epitomize excellence in business. So far, speakers/events have been:
- Don Yacktman, President/CEO Yacktman Funds. Morningstars fund manager of the year
- Ed Lette, President/CEO Business Bank of Texas
- Bill Rankin & Paul Kruse, Chief Executives for Blue Bell Creameries
- Arnold Van Den Berg, Chief Executive Officer, Century Management
- Marvin Rush, Founder & Chairman of Rush Enterprises
- Michael Shearn, Managing Partner of the Time Value of Money Fund and author of The Investment Checklist: The Art of in Depth Research
- Al Silva, the Texas Lutheran alumnus of 1978 and Chief Operating Officer of Labatt Food Service.
- Zeke Ashton, Founder of Centaur Capital Partners
- Pat Dorsey, founder of Dorsey Asset Management, former Director of Equity Research at Morningstar
- Wally Weitz, Chief Investment Officer and founder of Weitz Investment Management
- Amy Simmons, founder of Amy’s Ice Cream
- Harvey Najim, President of the Harvey E. Najim Family Foundation
- Brian Yacktman, Founder & CIO of YCG Investments
- Peter J. Holt, Executive Vice President and General Manager at HOLT CAT
- Brian Bares, Founder of Bares Capital Management
- Craig Boyan, President of HEB
- Bulldog Interns have also had the opportunity to go to Omaha to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. The event is a great opportunity to hear some of the best business advice a student could ever ask for.
- In the spring semester, students have the opportunity to attend/compete in the Texas Investment Portfolio Symposium. This symposium brings together some of the brightest and most accomplished experts in their respective fields to share their knowledge.